For Naomi's first birthday party, I picked the "Under the Sea" theme because my husband and I would have to do most of the birthday's party preparation details by ourselves and thought that we would manage to pull this party theme through.
As we had limited budget to work on Naomi's first birthday party; my husband wanted to do the party at home instead of at a restaurant. He felt that hosting a party at home would be more meaningful, merrier, less boring and warm. I would love to agree with him but I must admit that initially I objected his idea because I foresaw the immense work that we had to do pre, during and post the party at home. In the end, this time around my husband won and he got my buy-in to do the party at home.
Given the limited budget that we spared for Naomi's birthday bash, I capped RM 500 (equivalent to around US$ 150) for all items required to create her decorated dessert table or sweet corner. We ordered some Chinese food and two buckets of KFC Fried Chicken for Naomi's birthday dinner buffet. The plastic tables and chairs for the guests were borrowed from my Mother-in-Law's opposite neighbour, so there was quite a saving involved in that department.
I insisted of creating sweet corner for Naomi's birthday party because the birthday party pictures would be so much nicer with the existence of a sweet corner. I did the shopping, birthday goodies packing and decorating work in batches for Naomi's party because I had to complete my part-time work and baby sitting Naomi at the same time. I spent weeks in preparing Naomi's birthday bash.
Under the Sea themed birthday party.
I ordered her cupcakes and Little Nemo birthday cake from two different bakeries. Fortunately, we managed to find bakeries which could provide really nice cakes at reasonable price that met our budget.
Cute Little Nemo Fondant Birthday Cake, weighing 3.4 kg.
The bakery only made the plain cupcakes with blue butter cream on top. At home, I added some mini silver balls and placed some thick sea creatures stickers glued on satay bamboo sticks on some of the cupcakes to create more Under the Sea feeling to the cupcakes.
Under the Sea vanilla butter cupcakes.
Assorted candies, cookies, lollipops, marshmallows, chocolate bars were store bought. I packed them individually and placed customized 'Naomi's 1st birthday' label on each of them. The only home-made stuff was some rainbow pudding.
A handful of assorted candies packed individually and placed in tosca basket.
Individually packed Chocolate chips cookies.
Lollipops in ribbons.
I replaced the store-bought chocolate bars wrapper with whale-printed wrapping paper. There were lots of measuring, cutting and gluing work involved indeed. It's strange that I used to hate doing all the kind of art projects and my Mom did them for me when I was at primary school; however I voluntarily went to this great length with the DIY details for Naomi's party. Motherhood surely changes one lazy and less crafty woman into a more dedicated and creative Mom.
Mini chocolate bars wrapped in whale printed wrapping paper.
As for the rainbow marshmallow holder, my creative Mom was the one who transformed IKEA plant pot into the this pretty base. She placed stereo-foam onto a silver plant pot and neatly covered it with the whale printed wrapping paper for the marshmallow sticks.
Rainbow marshmallow sticks.
Since we didn't have any perfect table for the sweet corner at home, my husband and I purposely bought one from the local supermarket and went to a textile shop to buy the 4 metres sea blue loose cloth for the table cloth. We engaged someone to sew the cloth into a nice and theme-matching table cloth about one week before the party day and luckily, we were able to collect it on Thursday.
My husband did the birthday garland design by himself, printed them in his Dad's office and both of us soldiered on cutting them into triangle shape about a week before Naomi's birthday. Quite nice, right?
Totally DIY Birthday Garland.
Although the sweet corner that I created for Naomi was not that elaborated nor perfect, I was pretty pleased with the final result. Some of the attending guests complimented it too so I guess it was not so bad.
As expected, during the party I was extremely busy. I was busy doing lots of things, including monitoring the new part-time maid to make sure that she did some work as intended during the party, and I didn't have much time to talk with the guests. My husband was busy hosting the party, running here and there and talking with the guests whilst my parents were mostly in charge of baby sitting Naomi.
Chinese food spread for the birthday dinner buffet plus some KFC fried chicken for our Muslim guests.
The birthday girl was napping upstairs when the party started and the guests started coming in. I woke her up at about 7.30pm and changed her outfit to her birthday dress so we could have nice pictures together. I mean I had purposely bought her a special birthday dress and created the birthday's sweet corner for her - it would be a vain if we didn't manage to snap some nice pictures with her, wouldn't it?
The birthday girl hanging out with her cousins.
Here are some pictures that we took with the birthday girl. Naomi was a bit grumpy that night, possibly because she was overwhelmed with the crowd at the party. Further, when my Mom changed her to her pyjamas later that night, my Mom discovered that Naomi's new birthday dress was not so comfortable on her. My Mom found red marks all over Naomi's body which probably were caused by the itchy fabric material of her birthday dress. Pity girl.
Proud Mommy and her birthday girl.
Birthday girl with Mommy and Daddy.
The birthday party officially ended at about 11pm. My husband and I still had to do the cleaning work after the guests went home as my part-time maid left at 10pm. This said, perhaps in the future, I would consider doing similar party at the restaurant instead of at home because I was literally drop dead tired on the party day.
Anyway, I was a ecstatic Mom last Saturday. Although I was busy and not able to enjoy the party optimally, I was still happy and hope all the guests and the birthday girl enjoyed Naomi's simple Under the Sea First Birthday Party too. Glad to learn that the kiddos found the birthday goodies I prepared interesting and they were so excited in grabbing the goodies before they left home.
P.S: Naomi's first birthday party is featured at Kid's Birthday Parties on October 2013.
P.P.S: Seemingly 3.4 kg birthday cake is a lot of cake to feed 40 not-so-hungry people. We kept the large fish head that was brutally cut during the cake cutting ceremony in our fridge. 5 days after the birthday party, Nemo's head is still sitting and freezing in my fridge. Clearly, we are not big dessert lovers.